Advances in human well-being research: A sustainability science perspective

Gan Lin Huang, Ya Qiong Jiang, Zhi Feng Liu, Mei Nie, Yang Liu, Jing Wei Li, Yu Yang Bao, Yu Hai Wang, Jianguo Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Scientific research on human well-being has expanded in both scope and depth since the 1950s, particularly in the past decade, as the topic of human well-being became the cornerstone of sustainability science. An increasing number of scientists and scholars from various disciplines have recognized that economic indicators alone cannot adequately assess human well-being, and economic development is the only means for achieving the goal of sustainability, which is essential for human well-being. Human well-being studies provide conceptual frameworks, methods, and tools for measuring both individual welfare, and national and societal performance, which can provide information and improve policy-making. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, orchestrated by the United Nations, has articulated the connections between ecosystem services and human well-being, elevating human well-being research to a new level. During the past few decades, studies on human well-being have become crucial in the science of sustainability. However, sustainability science-oriented studies of human well-being are still lacking in China. To help fill the gap, this review discusses the historical developments and recent advances of human well-being research from a sustainability science perspective. In particular, we discuss objective well-being, subjective well-being, and the relationship between ecosystem services and human well-being. In addition, we discuss some of the important issues and future directions of human well-being research in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7519-7527
Number of pages9
JournalShengtai Xuebao
Issue number23
StatePublished - 2016


  • Ecosystem services
  • Human well-being
  • Objective well-being
  • Subjective well-being
  • Sustainability science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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